NEWS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
Issue 96, MARCH 2003

Table of Contents

  1. The 107th Congress in Retrospect
  2. Fiscal Year 2003 Federal Budget Passes -- Finally!
  3. NYC to Require Online Publication of all City Agency Reports and Publications
  4. Another Attempt to Make CRS Reports Available to the Public
  5. Be Careful When Weeding Those Old Documents!
  6. ERIC Up for Reauthorization This Year
  7. Preparedness Campaign Hits the Web
  8. Federal Laws and Regulations: A Primer
  9. Federal Regulations: Laws Behind the Acts
  10. Costs and Benefits of Government Regulations
  11. National Archives AAD System Now Operational
  12. Copyright Extended an Additional 20 Years in the U.S.
  13. January 2003 Midwinter Report from Susan Tulis
  14. Congress Online Project Honors Smith and Stabenow Web Pages
  15. Counting on the Internet for Government Information


(1) The 107th Congress in Retrospect

How will the 107th Congress be remembered? Some political scientists, historians, and Hill-watchers have already dubbed it "historic." It was a Congress that met under the cloud of a contested Presidential election; it survived a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, and an anthrax attack shortly thereafter. The Senate witnessed three changes of party control and the House expelled its second member since the Civil War period. Both chambers valiantly tried to stem accounting scandals and a total meltdown of public confidence in corporate America and began preparing a nation for a war abroad. It may have been "historic," but it certainly left a lot of work on the table.... Congress shirked its most important constitutional responsibility when it failed to pass a budget resolution let alone act on eleven pending appropriation measures that allow the executive department agencies to operate at their fully authorized levels. Perhaps it will be remembered as the Congress where "talk beat the clock.

So what did pass of note in the second session of the 107th? The USA Patriot Act (P.L. 107-56) which includes many controversial provisions relating to privacy, whistleblower protections, and government oversight; a Homeland Security Act (P.L. 107- 296) that raises new worries about implementation of the FOIA and creates new powers to insure government secrecy; and the TEACH Act (P.L. 107-273) that rewrites copyright rules for distance-education and the E-Government Act (S. 803) that seeks to improve citizen access to government services and information.

Source: NCC Washington Update, Vol. 8, no. 48, Dec. 4, 2002.

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(2) Fiscal Year 2003 Federal Budget Passes -- Finally!

On February 13, 2003, just prior to the President's Day recess, Congress gave final approval to the federal budget for fiscal year 2003. Four months late, the 30-pound, 3,000-page measure (H. J. Res. 2) rolls 11 appropriation bills into one and provides funding levels for all federal agencies except the Pentagon which received its funding last year. The House approved the $397.4 billion package by a vote of 338 to 83, and the Senate passed the measure 76 to 20. President Bush signed the legislation into law late yesterday.

As a cost-saving measure, in the FY 2003 Omnibus Appropriations bill Congress authorized a .65-percent across-the-board cut that applies to all agencies funded by the bill. While this probably will not affect an agency's ability to pay staff, it dramatically impacts discretionary dollars available. And because the cut comes five months into the fiscal year, the effect will be magnified as a lot of agencies have now lost flexibility on how best to implement the cut.

Most lawmakers have only a vague idea of what the massive spending bill actually contains. Some government spending watchdog groups report the measure contains more earmarks than most domestic spending bills passed in previous years. There are huge set-sides for congressional pet projects ranging from an expansion of the Big Bear Zoo in San Bernardino, California, to funds to renovate Carnegie Hall in New York. Hill insiders suspect that the spending package also provides big favors and pay-backs to industries that exercise considerable corporate influence on Capitol Hill.

Source: Bruce Craig, National Coalition for History (NCH) Washington Update, Vol. 9, No. 8; 21 February 21, 2003.

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(3) New York City to Require Online Publication of all City Agency Reports and Publications

The New York City Council has passed, and sent to Mayor Bloomberg for signature, the first bill of its kind for any city or state, requiring online publication of all city agency reports and publications within ten days of issuance. All documents are to be sent in electronic format to the Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS). Thereafter, they will be made available to the public via the My NYC.gov Portal. Source: Speaker Miller Unveils Good Government Legislation Package to provide greater transparency in city government.

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(4) Another Attempt to Make CRS Reports Available to the Public

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will be announcing the re-introduction of Senate sunshine legislation that would make many Congressional Research Service (CRS) products as well as other public records of the Senate and Congressional committees available on the internet. The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) will also be releasing its report: Congressional Research Service Products: Taxpayers Should Have Easy Access. See http://www.pogo.org/p/government/go-030201-crs.html.

The CRS, an arm of the U.S. Congress, authors products such as Reports to Congress, Issue Briefs, and Authorization and Appropriations Reports. None of these resources are being made readily available to the public by the government.

However, there are organizations which are profiting from this taxpayer-funded resource. Private vendors such as Lexis, Penny Hill Press, and Westlaw sell some of these CRS products. Furthermore, former Members of Congress, many of whom become lobbyists, can request current CRS publications and limited reference assistance. Currently, there are over 150 registered lobbyists who are former Members of Congress. Entities such as corporations, universities, and localities who can afford these high-priced lobbyists have access to current CRS publications that the general American public does not. There are a variety of government, non-governmental, and university websites that offer some CRS reports, but none of them have all the products and finding a particular report remains a crapshoot.

The CRS also operates both the CRS website and the Legislative Information System (LIS) website, which are not available to the public at all. To prevent public access to its websites, CRS has even erected an elaborate firewall which redirects non-Congressional inquiries to the public THOMAS site. The LIS offers far more information than is available on the public Library of Congress THOMAS website. In fact, CRS has a special page detailing the enhanced capabilities of its restricted LIS website over the public THOMAS website, such as up-to-the-minute floor and committee schedules – critical information for citizens, grassroots activists and journalists.

The Project On Government Oversight's Executive Director Danielle Brian stated, "CRS's secrecy is an anachronism from before the information age. It has no place in the internet era. Furthermore, to allow former Members of Congress who are now lobbyists access to this service, while denying it to the public, is counter to the principles of open government. CRS's excuses for denying the public access to this information don't hold water and are an example of bureaucratic power-grabbing at its worst."

While CRS has testified and written policy positions opposing the dissemination of its products to the public, other legislative agencies with functions similar to those of the CRS - the General Accounting Office and the Congressional Budget Office - have made their products available to the public without compromising their responsibilities to Congress, relinquishing their constitutional protections, or violating any legal prohibitions.

POGO recommends that CRS products such as Reports to Congress, Issue Briefs, and Authorization and Appropriations Reports be made readily available to the general public. The Library of Congress should seek to bolster the public THOMAS website to include as much information from the CRS and LIS websites as possible.

Source: Greta E. Marlatt, Information Services Manager, Dudley Knox Library, Naval Postgraduate School, 411 Dyer Rd, Monterey, CA 93943; GOVDOC-L, Feb. 11, 2003.

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(5) Be Careful When Weeding Those Old Documents!

Whoever said "Clean up! You never know what you'll find" was right. On November 19, 2002 two Senate aides uncovered a "literally, priceless" treasure while cleaning out the Capitol's east front basement storage rooms: a 400 page Senate reimbursement ledger from 1790 to 1881. Within minutes of its discovery, Senate Historian Richard Baker and outgoing Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) were in the Capitol's basement to confirm the document's authenticity. Titled "Senators Compensation and Mileage," the gold-stamped volume provides a glimpse into the financial structure of the Senate throughout the 19th century.

The document has the signatures of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Aaron Burr -- all of whom were Vice-presidents and hence also served as Presidents of the Senate. The ledger shows that Senators treated their reimbursement seriously. In 1790, Senators received $6 for each day they were in session. They also got a 30 cents a mile for a maximum of 20 miles allotment for their commute to and from their home states. In 1816, Senate salaries increased from $6 to $8 per day. Annual salaries did not take hold until 1855. Today, Senators make an average, annual salary of $150,000 to $166,000. As Baker said, "[This book] is a great metaphor for the growth of the nation, to say nothing of the growth of the Senate."

Baker hopes the book will be digitized and accessible to the public via the Senate's web site within six months. Without a Senate historical office one wonders what would otherwise happen to such inadvertent discoveries.

For more accounts, see

  • First Senate Ledger Saved From History's Dustbin, Carl Hulse, New York Times, Nov. 25, 2002.
  • The Treasure in the Senate Subbasement: First Pay List Saved From Trash, David Montgomery, Washington Post, Nov. 26, 2002, page C01.

    Source: NCC Washington Update, Vol. 8, no. 48, Dec. 4, 2002.

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    (6) ERIC Up for Reauthorization This Year

    Funding for the continuation of ERIC is being considered by Congress this year. In light of PubScience's demise and the recent weeding of information off of the Department of Education's web pages, nothing is sure anymore about the future of ERIC.

    To follow the unfolding story and for some tips on people to contact, take a look at ERIC Reauthorization News, a web page maintained by Kate Corby, Education and Psychology Bibliographer at the Michigan State University Libraries.

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    (7) Preparedness Campaign Hits the Web

    The Department of Homeland Security, in partnership with The Advertising Council and the Sloan Foundation, today launched a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign that will educate and empower American citizens to prepare for and respond to potential future terrorist attacks.

    The PSAs offer practical suggestions to increase preparedness, including learning about serious threats, making emergency supply kits, creating a family communication plan and keeping emergency phone numbers near the phone. The ads direct Americans to call 1-800-BE-READY to access a free brochure or visit http://www.ready.gov where they can learn the best ways to protect themselves and their families against terrorism. Every American has a role in strengthening the nation's preparedness.

    The new campaign seeks to reduce fears and provide information by providing individuals specific actions they can take to protect themselves, their families and their communities in the wake of an attack, or another emergency situation.

    Emergency Supply Kit:

    Start with three days worth of non-perishable food and water. Remember, even if your community is not directly affected by an attack, your life and daily routine may be disrupted. You may need to shelter at home for a couple of days. Roads and stores may be closed - electricity may be turned off - your water supply might be interrupted.

    Add flashlights and a battery-powered radio to hear the latest instructions from local authorities. Don't forget extra batteries, a blanket, a first aid kit and medicines, and a manual can opener. Stash away duct tape and pre-measured plastic sheeting for future use. Experts tell us that a safe room inside your house or apartment can help protect you from airborne contaminants for approximately five hours - that could be just enough time for a chemical agent to blow away.

    Family Communication Plan:

    Make certain that everyone knows how to get in touch, and knows what the emergency plan is for different types of attacks. Every state, every community, every school and every workplace should have an emergency plan. Find out what that plan is and who is in charge. If your school or employer does not have a plan, volunteer to be part of a group to create one. Choose a meeting place, maybe a friend or relative's house, that's well away from your neighborhood. Keep your gas tank half-full. And always make sure you have a set of emergency and contact numbers posted by the phone.

    Be Informed and Aware:

    Log onto http://www.ready.gov or call 1-800-BE-READY. In the event of an emergency, listen to local authorities for instructions.

    The Information Campaign:

    Created pro bono by The Martin Agency, a Virginia-based advertising agency, the campaign includes television, radio, print, outdoor and Internet advertising. Ruder Finn Interactive developed the new website for the campaign.

    The Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have partnered with various organizations to extend the reach of these critical messages. One key partnership with The Yellow Pages Integrated Media Association will provide information about what to do in an emergency in each of its 550 million Yellow Pages directories over the course of the next year. Another vital partner, The U.S. Postal Service, will distribute preparedness brochures to consumers via their 35,000 post offices nationwide.

    Additionally, the Salvation Army will distribute preparedness information from their 9,000 retail locations and the American Red Cross will provide terrorism preparedness training from their local Red Cross chapters. The OAAA (Outdoor Advertising Association of America) and the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) have generously offered to provide their support by helping to extend the reach of the messages.

    Principal members of the OAAA have committed to donating outdoor advertising space throughout the next year for the PSAs. This commitment is preliminarily valued at $17.7 million. As a starting point, ClearChannel Spectacolor has generously donated a one-month long placement of the PSA on a billboard in Times Square. This donation alone is valued at $65,000.

    The NAB has donated multiple satellite feeds to assist in the distribution of the PSAs to stations nationwide. In addition, Secretary Ridge is scheduled to address the 50 state broadcast associations and leading broadcasters from around the country at NAB's State Leadership Conference in Washington next week. The NCTA (National Cable & Telecommunications Association) is also donating a satellite feed to distribute the PSAs to their constituents, representing more than 90 percent of the nation's cable television households and more than 200 cable program networks.

    Secretary Ridge appears in the PSAs, as do several New York City firefighters, Office of Emergency Management personnel, Port Authority officers and police officers. In the ads, these spokespeople tell Americans that they should not feel helpless or fear terrorism, but instead take simple steps to prepare for possible attacks, just as they do for other potential emergencies. The ads stress the need to "Arm Yourself with Information," which is meant to empower Americans by helping to see that they can take simple steps to protect themselves.

    Source: Department of Homeland Security News Release, Feb. 19, 2003.

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    (8) Federal Laws and Regulations: A Primer

    Part 1: Congress Creates the Laws

    Buying safe products, drinking pure water and breathing clean air, working and traveling safely, and living free of discrimination are just a few of the qualities of American life ensured in large measure by government laws and regulations.

    Many of the laws passed by Congress authorize government "regulatory" agencies, like the FDA and EPA, to put the laws to work by creating regulations to implement and enforce them. Here you will find a basic explanation of how laws and regulations come to be, what they are, and where to find them.

    Congress Creates the Laws

    Laws are proposed or "introduced" by a member of either the House or Senate as a "bill." All bills currently being considered by Congress can be found on the Thomas Legislative Information System, a service of the Library of Congress. Daily agendas of bills being considered by Congress can be found on the U.S. Congress Today page of the U.S. Government Info/Resources Web site.

    If both the House and Senate approve a bill, it is sent to the president who may either approve it or veto it. If the president approves and signs the bill, it becomes an act, and is listed as a Public Law. For more information, see: How Bills Become Laws or Not.

    All Public Laws enacted since 1973 (the 93rd Congress) can be found on the Browse Public Laws page of the Thomas Legislative Information System.

    Public Laws are further combined or "codified" to become part of the United States Code.

    Many of the laws created by Congress establish broad general goals. For example, the main goal of the Clean Air Act of 1970 is "to protect and enhance the quality of the Nation's air.

    " Congress, however, does not typically establish details of how such broad goals are to be carried out and enforced. Those tasks are assigned to one or more regulatory agencies. In the case of the Clean Air Act, Congress assigns the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to interpret and enforce the goals of the Act.

    Once Congress has created a law, the regulatory agencies must put that law to work through the rulemaking process.

    Part 2: Putting the Law to Work by Creating Regulations

    Once a new law has been created, Congress authorizes certain government agencies to create the regulations needed to put the law to work.

    Major laws rarely include details of how the law is to be enforced. Regulations define exactly what is legal and what is not under the law. For example, regulations created by the EPA to implement the Clean Air Act state what levels of pollutants--such as sulfur dioxide--are safe. The regulation also tells industries how much sulfur dioxide they can legally emit into the air, and what the penalty will be if they emit too much.

    Another crucial job of the regulatory agencies is to create awareness programs to help citizens and industries comply with the laws and regulations.

    Creating a Regulation.

    After determining a regulation is needed, the staff of the regulatory agency designated in the law researches the regulation. During the research phase, the agency may solicit input from experts outside the government, including industry representatives, scholars and independent consultants.

    The proposed regulation is then published in the Federal Register and a period of time is set aside for members of the public to consider the regulation and to submit comments to the agency. The Federal Register entry will give complete details on members of the public can submit comments on the proposed regulation.

    During the consideration period, the agency may hold one or more public hearings on the proposed regulation. Notices of these public hearings will also appear in the Federal Register.

    Flowing the public consideration period, the regulation is published as a "final rule" in the Federal Register.

    Finally, the regulations is "codified" by being published in the Code of Federal Regulations -- the CFR. The official record of all government regulations, the CFR is divided into 50 sections or "titles," each covering a specific area. The regulation can be enforced by agents of the regulatory agency.

    Finding Federal Regulations

    The Federal Register is the official daily publication including all proposed new or amended federal regulations, final rules, notices of public hearings by federal agencies, as well as all presidential Executive Orders and documents. Daily editions of the Federal Register dating back to 1995 are available in an online, searchable version via the Government Printing Office at Web address: http://www.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aces140.html. Perhaps the most convenient way to search the Federal Register is the Federal Register Browse Feature.

    The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the official codification of the general and permanent regulations published in the Federal Register by the Executive Branch departments and agencies. Maintained jointly by the National Archives and Records Administration and the Government Printing Office, the CFR online version is found at Web address: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/index.html. Once again, a handy Code of Federal Regulations Browse Feature is available.

    The Public and Private Laws Database is a searchable collection of all public and private laws enacted by Congress and signed by the president since the 104th Congress in 1995-1996. The online database of laws is available at Web address: http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/nara005.html.

    Enforcing Federal Regulations

    Suspected violations of federal regulations are investigated by agents of the regulatory agencies involved. When necessary, other federal law enforcement agencies, along with state an local police may also participate in the investigations. As with all federal civil and criminal laws, violators of adopted federal regulations are prosecuted through the federal court system by the Department of Justice.

    Reprinted with permission of Robert Longley, About.Com Guide to U.S. Government Info/Resources.

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    (9) Federal Regulations: Laws Behind the Acts

    Part 1: The Federal Rulemaking Process

    The Clean Air Act, The Food and Drug Act, The Civil Rights Act -- examples of landmark legislation requiring months, even years of highly publicized planning, debate, compromise and reconciliation in Congress. Yet the work of creating the vast and ever-growing volumes of "federal regulations," the real and enforceable laws behind the acts, happens largely unnoticed in the offices of the government agencies rather than the halls of Congress.

    What are federal regulations? Where do they come from and under what oversight are they written, enacted and, at least once so far, de-enacted?

    Regulatory Agencies: Agencies, like the FDA, EPA, OSHA and at least 50 others, are called "regulatory" agencies, because they are empowered to create and enforce rules - regulations - that carry the full force of a law. Individuals, businesses, and private and public organizations can be fined, sanctioned, forced to close, and even jailed for violating federal regulations. The oldest Federal regulatory agency still in existence is the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, established in 1863 to charter and regulate national banks. [See: History of Regulatory Programs, from the OMB]

    The Federal Rulemaking Process: is how federal regulations are created and it goes something like this:

    First, Congress passes a law designed to address a social or economic need or problem. The appropriate regulatory agency then create regulations necessary to implement the law. For example, the Food and Drug Administration creates its regulations under the authority of the Food Drug and Cosmetics Act, the Controlled Substances Act and several other acts created by Congress over the years. Acts such as these are known as "enabling legislation," because the literally enable the regulatory agencies to create the regulations required to administer enforce them.

    The "Rules" of Rulemaking: Regulatory agencies create regulations according to rules and processes defined by another law known as the Administration Procedure Act (APA).

    The APA defines a "rule" or "regulation" as... [T]he whole or a part of an agency statement of general or particular applicability and future effect designed to implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy or describing the organization, procedure, or practice requirements of an agency.

    ... and, the process of "rulemaking" is defined as:

    [A]gency action which regulates the future conduct of either groups of persons or a single person; it is essentially legislative in nature, not only because it operates in the future but because it is primarily concerned with policy considerations.

    Under the APA, the agencies must publish all proposed new regulations in the Federal Register at least 30 days before they take effect, and they must provide a way for interested parties to comment, offer amendments, or to object to the regulation.

    Some regulations require only publication and an opportunity for comments to become effective. Others require publication and one or more formal public hearings. The enabling legislations states which process is to be used in creating the regulations. Regulations requiring hearings can take several months to become final.

    New regulations or amendments to existing regulations are known as proposed rules. Notices of public hearings or requests for comments on proposed rules are published in the Federal Register, on the Web sites of the regulatory agencies and in many newspapers and other publications. The notices will include information on how to submit comments, or participate in public hearings on the proposed rule.

    In addition, the complete text of all proposed rules is published in the Federal Register and typically posted on the agencies' Web sites.

    Once a regulation takes effect, it becomes a "final rule" and is printed in the Federal Register, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and usually posted on the Web site of the regulatory agency. For example, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) lists all of the agencies' final rules on the OSHA Regulations & Compliance Links page of its Web site.

    Part 2: Type & Number of Regulations

    In the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Report to Congress on the Costs and Benefits of Federal Regulations, OMB defines the three widely recognized categories of federal regulations as: social, economic, and process.

  • Social Regulation seeks to benefit the public interest in one of two ways. It prohibits firms from producing products in certain ways or with certain characteristics that are harmful to public interests such as health, safety, and the environment. Examples would be OSHA’s rule prohibiting firms from allowing in the workplace more than one part per million of Benzene averaged over an eight hour day, and the Department of Energy’s rule prohibiting firms from selling refrigerators that do not meet certain energy efficiency standards. It also requires firms to produce products in certain ways or with certain characteristics that are beneficial to these public interests. Examples are FDA’s requirement that firms selling food products must provide a label with specified information on its package and DOT’s requirement that automobiles be equipped with certain kinds of airbags.

  • Economic Regulation prohibits firms from charging prices or entering or exiting lines of business that might cause harm to the economic interests of other firms or economic groups. Such regulations usually apply on an industry-wide basis (for example, agriculture, trucking, or communications). In the United States, this type of regulation at the Federal level has often been administered by independent commissions such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). This type of regulation can cause economic loss from the higher prices and inefficient operations that often occur when competition is restrained.

  • Process Regulations impose administrative or paperwork requirements such as income tax, immigration, social security, food stamps, or procurement forms. Most process costs result from program administration, government procurement, and tax compliance efforts. Social and economic regulation may also impose paperwork costs due to disclosure requirements and enforcement needs. These costs generally appear in the cost for such rules. Procurement costs generally show up in the Federal budget as greater fiscal expenditures.

    How many regulations are there?. According to the Office of the Federal Register, in 1998, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), the official listing of all regulations in effect, contained a total of 134,723 pages in 201 volumes that claimed 19 feet of shelf space. In 1970, the CFR totaled only 54,834 pages.

    The General Accounting Office reports that in the four fiscal years from 1996 to 1999, a total of 15,286 new federal regulations went into effect. Of these, 222 were classified as "major" rules, each one having an annual effect on the economy of at least $100 million. [Source: Costs of Federal Regulation, the Heritage Foundation]

    While they call the process "rulemaking," the regulatory agencies create and enforce "rules" that are truly laws, many with the potential to profoundly effect the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans. What controls and oversight are placed on the regulatory agencies in creating the federal regulations?

    Part 3: Congressional Control of Regulations

    Federal regulations created by the regulatory agencies are subject to review by both the president and Congress under Executive Order 12866 and the Congressional Review Act of 1966.

    Executive Order 12866, issued on Sept. 30, 1993, by President Clinton, stipulates steps that must be followed by executive branch agencies before regulations issued by them are allowed to take effect.

    For all regulations, a detailed cost-benefit analysis must be performed. Regulations with an estimated cost of $100 million or more are designated "major rules," and require completion of a more detailed Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA). The RIA must justify the cost of the new regulation and must be approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) before the regulation can take effect.

    Executive Order 12866 also requires all regulatory agencies to prepare and submit to OMB annual plans to establish regulatory priorities and improve coordination of the Administration's regulatory program.

    The OMB publishes this Report of Regulations Pending and Reviews Completed - Last 30 Days. The report is updated every weekday.

    While some requirements of Executive Order 12866 apply only to executive branch agencies, all federal regulatory agencies fall under the controls of the Congressional Review Act.

    The Congressional Review Act (CRA), passed in 1996 as part of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, allows Congress 60 in-session days to review and possibly reject new federal regulations issued by the regulatory agencies.

    Under the CRA, the regulatory agencies are required to submit all new rules the leaders of both the House and Senate. In addition, the General Accounting Office (GAO) provides to those congressional committees related to the new regulation, a detailed report on each new major rule.

    Should any member of Congress object to a new regulation, he or she can introduce a "Resolution of Disapproval" to have the regulation rejected. Should the resolution pass both House and Senate by simple majority votes, and the president signs it, the regulation basically vanishes.

    Since going into effect in 1996, the Congressional Review Act has been successfully invoked exactly once. On March 7, 2001, Congress gave it's final approval to Senate Joint Resolution 6 disapproving the controversial final regulations on ergonomics created by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration's (OSHA) and set to take effect in October, 2001.

    Reprinted with permission of Robert Longley, About.Com Guide to U.S. Government Info/Resources.

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    (10) Costs and Benefits of Government Regulations

    Do federal regulations -- the rules enforcing the laws passed by Congress -- cost taxpayers more than they are worth? Answers to that question can be found in a first-ever draft report on the costs and benefits of federal regulations just released by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

    The report includes benefit-cost information by agency program as well as by agency. A copy of the report can be viewed at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg/2003draft_cost-benefit_rpt.pdf.

    "More detailed information helps consumers make intelligent choices on the products they purchase. By that same token, knowing more about the benefits and costs of federal regulations helps policymakers promote smarter regulations," said Dr. John D. Graham, OIRA Administrator.

    OMB Seeks Public Comment

    The draft report also calls for public comment on how federal regulatory agencies are currently assessing and managing emerging risks to human health, safety, and the environment, particularly those risks that are subject to substantial scientific uncertainty. For future homeland security regulations, the report seeks public comment on how agencies and OMB can do a better job of identifying, quantifying, and weighing the consequences of the rules. The draft report is required by the Regulatory Right to Know Act and it will now be subjected to a 60-day public comment period, peer review by academic experts, and a formal process of interagency review.

    Comments can be emailed to OIRA _ECON _GUIDE@omb.eop.gov or faxed, with the title "Comments on Draft Guidelines" identified in the transmittal page, to (202) 395 –7245.

    Reprinted with permission of Robert Longley, About.Com Guide to U.S. Government Info/Resources.

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    (11) National Archives AAD System Now Operational

    On 12 February 2003, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) released the "Access to Archival Databases (AAD) System to the public. AAD provides researchers with online access to over 50 million historical electronic records organized in over 350 databases that were created by some 20 Federal agencies. The long-term plan calls for the program to be expanded to over 500 databases.

    The AAD System is the first publicly accessible application developed under the auspices of the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) Program. The ERA program seeks to address the challenges of preserving and increasing the variety and volume of government records that have been created and stored in electronic form.

    AAD enables researchers to search, retrieve, print out, and download records. Researchers will need to determine in advance the series and file units of interest before initiating their research. To access the System, tap into: http://www.archives.gov/aad/.

    Source: National Coalition for History (NCH) Washington Update, Vol. 9, #8; 21 February 2003.

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    (12) Copyright Extended an Additional 20 Years in the U.S.

    In a decision disappointing to the library community, the U.S. Supreme Court on January 15 upheld, by a vote of 7 to 2, the constitutionality of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. The Act, passed by Congress in 1998, extends the copyright term for an additional 20 years, so that a commercially-produced work is now governed by the provisions of copyright law for 95 years; for an individual's work the term is "life of the author" plus 70 years. Source: American Library Association Washington Office Newsline, Volume 12, Number 5, January 16, 2003.

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    (13) January 2003 Midwinter Report from Susan Tulis

    A high point for me at the recent ALA meeting in Philadelphia was meeting Bruce R. James, the new Public Printer of the United States. James attended the GODORT Business Meeting on Monday, Jan. 27, 2003 along with Judy Russell, current Superintendent of Documents. James noted that Judy Russell is the first woman manager at GPO and spoke of GPO as the last vestige of the 19th Century with a high percentage of managers ready and able to retire.

    James' first priority is to determine what is the proper mission of the Government Printing Office or Government Information Office. If GPO was a private company he would take his top 12 people, lock them up in a room for 72 hours, and come out with a plan for the future. But this is the government so things will be done in a different manner. James and GPO will go through 3 periods: fact-finding, planning process and implementation plan.

    James would like the fact finding period to take 6 months, but acknowledges that it will probably take a year. He plans to talk to everyone to find out what are the problems, opportunities, where are peoples information needs being filled, etc. Once he gets the facts he will go out and explain what he has learned to make sure all agree.

    James hopes that we can do a plan within the family and he includes librarians as part of the family. He knows that he will be at GPO about 3-5 years and doesn't want his plan to disappear once he leaves. The plan has to be our plan, not his plan.

    Nothing will go on James' calendar that isn't geared towards moving GPO forward. He will not be involved in the day-to-day operations. He has others on staff to handle that. He plans to keep things focused on strategic long ranged planning. James also acknowledged that Congress has to buy into this plan. He stated that depository librarians are also important to this process. James assured us that GPO won't be blown apart in the next six weeks, but it will be different ten years from now. What we do will be different. James wants to learn what it is we do. He noted that there is a need to build new partnerships, but will protect and preserve the partnership with the depository libraries. He would like us to think about what we would do if we have to start the depository library program over again. What is the Regional Library of the 21st century? What changes should be made to the existing system? James assured everyone that we will be involved every step of the way. He said that it is unlikely we will be preserving the quantities of materials we have in the past, but we may be able to preserve more digitally. In focusing on the future, James said that he want top quality people on Depository Library Council and he may bring more experts in.

    The third period will be to implement the plan.

    James also spoke some about the Sales program. He was astounded that GPO is budgeting to lose $18 million, but had very little budgeted for staff training. He spoke about the inefficiencies, such as 10 guys in Philadelphia doing the work of 2. Bruce has spoken with the Postmaster General about an idea to put a press in each regional mail facility for a possible "print on demand" program which would then use the USPS for delivery of hard copy. GPO bookstores aren't doing the job that they were intended for, but the Internet sales can't do the job alone either. A lot of GPO workers seem to be idle, "waiting for the business to pick up again" -- Bruce wants to seek out the business and improve customer service.

    It will certainly be interesting times in the months and years to come! Stay tuned.

    Much discussion during Midwinter focused on the GODORT budget situation and how to deal with it. Don't be surprised when you get a letter soliciting donations for the Rozkuszka scholarship! It was clear that many members felt we must continue to give this scholarship every year.

    The Update session on Saturday morning was well attended and quite informative. Michael Esman, National Agricultural Library spoke about the cooperative cataloging program NAL oversees to catalog state government documents. Despite this program there are gaps of state publications in AGRICOLA. NAL would like to expand cooperation particularly with land-grant libraries so that each institution catalogs agricultural documents issued in its state. If you are interested, contact Donna Collins, Cataloging Branch, National Agricultural Library, 10301 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, MD 20815, 301-504-6730, dcollins@nal.usda.gov.

    The next presentation was on the World Bank online databases. The World Bank is the premier source for data and research on social and economic development. The World Bank databases available as subscription products are World Development Indicators (WDI) Online [Database on social, economic, financial, natural resources, and environmental indicators. Time series data from 1960. 550 indicators, 207 countries, and 18 regional and income groups.] and Global Development Finance (GDF) Online [Database on external debt and financial flow data for 138 countries. Time series for 219 indicators from 1970 to 2001, with contractual obligations through 2010. Indicators include exteral debt stocks and flows, major economic aggregates, key debt ratios, average terms of new commitments, currency composition of long-term debt, debt restructurings, scheduled debt service projections.] The World Bank is planning to launch its e-Library, an electronic portal for libraries and institutions to the Bank's full-text collection of books, reports and other documents in April 2003. This commerical, subscription-based tool will bring together in a fully indexed and cross-serachable database, over 1,000 titles published by the World Bank and all future titles. Subscribers will also have the option of including access to WDI Online and GDF Online. e-Library will be built and hosted by Ingenta. For more information, contact Valentina Kalk, Rights Manager, Office of the Publisher, The World Bank, 202-522-4065 or vkalk@worldbank.org.

    Patrice McDermott, ALA Washington Office, gave an update on federal documents issues, focusing mainly on legislation infringing on privacy, including the USA Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act.

    GODORT is sponsoring a preconference at the Annual Meeting in Toronto. It is "Good Enough for Government Work: Digitization of Government Information" and will be held Thursday, June 19, 9 am - 5 pm and Friday, June 20, 9 am - 1 pm at the University of Toronto. Day one will address issues related to the digitization of government information including developing a project vision, project management, copyright issues, technical processes, preservation and metadata. Day two will offer practical advice and lessons learned on such topics as project content, timelines, technology, funding, collaboration, training, and evaluation. Deadline for early bird registration rate is Feb 22, 2003 otherwise the advance registration (May 9, 2003) fee will apply.

    The main GODORT program in Toronto will be "The People's Treasures: US and Canadian National Library" and will have presentations from the National Library of Canada, National Education Library, National Transportation Library, National Library of Medicine, National Agricultural Library, and the Library of Congress.

    Education Committee has put the "Balancing Information Access Since 9-11: Background Issues Kit" into final form and can be found at the following site: http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/GODORT/education/index.html.

    Government Information Technology Committee has the Census 2000 Toolkit, the E-Competencies Toolkit, and CD-ROM Documentation Service posted at the following site: http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/GODORT/gitco/.

    International Documents Task Force had the following reports from the field: 1. The United Nations is launching a new version of UNBISNet with the Beta version debuting in early February. The site will include a new platform for voting records which will allow user-defined retrieval of voting data. They are also launching a new version of the UNBIS Thesaurus in 6 languages. The Optical Disk System is still not free, although they are considering this. Many linke for full-text documents available through UNBISNet or elsewhere on the UN webpages now link directly to ODS, even though this remains a fee based service. The UN has recently launched a new CD-ROM of the United Nations yearbooks, from 1948-1999. The 2000 update will be released soon. Other new possibilities include the inclusion of UN Sales Publications in the ODS, a new e-commerce site,s and an online version of the UN Yearbook.

    2. OECD - Usage of Source OECD is up, with more subscribers and more hits on the database. Soon the International Energy Agency will be adding IEA data to the statistics section. IEA data will be included on Source OECD subscribers until June; after that a separate subscription will be requires. OECD health data will also be available soon, but users will need to download special software onto a local PC to use it. A new statistical compendium will allow users to navigate more easily across the different statistical databases. In May or June a new Source OECD platform will roll out to provide less "clicks" to get to text and data. Data downloads will no longer be limited to 15,000 cells, but rather 60,000. Full-text searching will be available. URLs will be constant, allowing users to catalog specific items. Users will be able to save searches. OECD is also working on archiving and preservation of digital data. They are experimenting with open archives/open URLs and collaborating with the Library of Congress.

    3. Norman Ross - big news is that he has been acquired by ProQuest. He continues to work on many of the same projects: EU Official Journal, the London Gazette, Council of Europe human rights decisions, the Commonwealth Law Bulletin, and others. He still reprints back volumes of the US Census - under a small company called AMI.

    4. Bernan - 2002 was the worst in 15 years because of problems with their business software. They had virtually no invoicing of distribution for 3 months. The good news is Bernan now claims to have achieved "title comprehensiveness" for IGO publications. They have 2 new products of note: Basic Instruments and Selected Documents of the World Trade Organization, a continuation of the GATT BISD, and a new WTO Analytical Index, also similar to its's GATT predecessor.

    Keep your eyes out for the Winter issue of 2002 DTTP for the article "Archiving International Government Information on the Internet: Report from a Survey by the GODORT International Documents Task Force." Among other things, the survey found that over 40% of IGOs have not yet formulated plans to archive Internet documents, and that nearly 60% are open to the possibility of collaborating with libraries to accomplish this.

    Resolutions:

    Memorial resolution for Barbara Aldrich, Census Bureau.
    Resolution of Withdrawn Electronic Government Information.

    As usual, I am sure I missed lots of what took place during the conference and I apologize in advance if I have left something out. I hope others will please add to this report if they so chose.

    Source: Susan Tulis, Associate Dean for Information Services, Southern Illinois University, Library Affairs, Mailcode 6632, 605 Agriculture Drive, Carbondale, IL 62901-6632; Ph: 618/453-1459 or 618/453-2522 to leave a message; Fax: 618/453-3440; E-Mail: stulis@lib.siu.edu.

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    (14) Congress Online Project Honors
    Congressman Nick Smith and Senator Debbie Stabenow

    On March 3, 2003, the Congress Online Project released its annual report Congress Online 2003: Turning the Corner on the Information Age at http://www.congressonlineproject.org/ to assist congressional offices in developing effective Web sites. It is the result of two years of research by the Congress Online Project.

    Congressman Nick Smith received a Gold Mouse Award for his web site. According to the announcement,

    "One of the most dynamic and constituent-driven Web sites according to the Congress Online Project was that of Rep. Nick Smith. Rep. Smith and his staff encourage and receive a lot of feedback from constituents about the Web site and they incorporate what they learn into their Web strategy. As a result, the following features keep his site engaging and up-to-date:
  • The top center of the home page focuses on providing the latest news and headlines, while special Web site features are included to draw people in to the site;
  • An extensive district survey asks constituents for their views and opinions on a range of topics and then provides survey results;
  • Quick and easy answers to frequently asked questions provided in his "Information Center" that are updated on a regular basis to respond to the ever-changing concerns of constituents.
  • Senator Debbie Stabenow received a Silver Mouse Award for her efforts at mobilizing information about prescription drugs. According to the award,
    through its "Prescription Drug People's Lobby," Senator Debbie Stabenow's Web site has created an online community of citizens interested in staying informed about the many prescription drug bills in Congress. Besides providing a thorough, one-stop shop for information about this issue, her Web site encourages visitors to share their experiences with her. She then relates these stories to her colleagues on the Senate floor. Senator Stabenow is harnessing the power of the Web to keep citizens informed about pending legislation and to represent their concerns in the democratic process.

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    (15) Counting on the Internet for Government Information

    The Pew Internet and American Life Project's Counting on the Internet study found 58% of Internet users say they go online first the next time they need information about government programs or services, twice the rate of those who would use the telephone.

    “In the past year or so, the Internet has turned into America’s go-to tool,” said Senior Research Specialist John Horrigan of the Pew Internet Project. “Americans prefer logging on agency Web sites to dealing with government personnel.

    First, two-thirds of U.S. Internet users have more than three years experience online and that helps them become adept at finding the information and services they like. Second, Web site operators have built billions of Web pages and become better at giving Americans what they want in the form they want it. Third, search tools have become more powerful so people can locate the information they want.

    Pew Internet and American Life Project News Release, December 29, 2002.

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